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French club Marseille agrees to 2-year deal with Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa

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MARSEILLE, France - French club Marseille said Friday it has reached an agreement to sign Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa on a two-year deal.

Marseille was the runner-up in the French league last season but currently sits in sixth place, missing out on a Champions League spot despite replacing coach Elie Baup in December with sporting director Jose Anigo.

The club said Bielsa will come back to Marseille to sign his contract at the end of the season.

"I'm a big fan of Argentine football in general and of Marcelo Bielsa in particular," Marseille president Vincent Labrune told RMC radio. "We got in touch with very few coaches. I believe it's a great chance for Marseille to have Marcelo Bielsa with us."

Bielsa led Argentina to the Olympic title and to a runner-up finish in the Copa America in 2004. He also helped Chile qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

At club level, Bielsa guided Newell's Old Boys to the 1991 Argentine league title and Athletic Bilbao to a runner-up finish in the 2012 Europa League.

"We hope to turn a corner with Marcelo," Labrune said. "It's going to be a cultural revolution but also a structural one. I think it's a necessary step to help Marseille deal with a new economic environment and especially new rivals."

Marseille won the French league title in 2010 but has struggled this season to compete with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, both backed by billionaire owners.

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